MARTA riders were adjusting Monday to changes to their weekday commutes brought about by service cuts.
MARTA service reductions went into effect Saturday. The agency cut 10 percent of bus service and 14 percent of rail service as it tried to address an estimated $109 million deficit. Government and transit agencies across the country and metro Atlanta have faced cuts because of the tough economy.
Fare increases for passes (for two to 30 days) and the final phase-out of tokens will happen at the beginning of October, and shuttles to Braves games and Lakewood Amphitheatre will be eliminated next year.
Detailed maps posted on MARTA’s website and at train stations show how bus routes will veer away from less-used paths, or take longer routes to pick up dropped portions of other buses. In general, train passengers will see slightly longer waits, and more who take branch lines will have to stop for transfers.
Brittany Langford was waiting for a northbound train at the MARTA Five Points station Monday morning and said she had to leave earlier because of the schedule change. “It’s difficult,” said Langford who depends on MARTA to look for a job. She said her day was complicated because the schedule posted on the MARTA website had not been updated to reflect the new times.
Joseph Reese said he depends on the No. 165 bus to get to work and to classes at Atlanta Technical College. Usually the bus comes at 9:23 a.m. but on Monday “it came at 9:45,” he said.
Here’s a reminder of the changes that went into effect Saturday, including revised hours for a host of services:
* Need help? Detailed information is available on MARTA’s website, itsmarta.com . If that doesn’t help, MARTA is answering route questions at 404-848-5000.
* Buses: MARTA has eliminated 2,700 of 11,500 bus stops. Those stops were marked with a “Rider Alert” sign. Detailed explanations of each route change, and new route maps, are available online at itsmarta.com. End-of-the-line stops show the new routes.
* Trains: Waits for trains will increase by up to five minutes. The first hour of weekend train service has been eliminated, and trains will start at 6 a.m. There will be smaller trains at night, with fewer cars. Final train runs start at 1 a.m., even on weekdays. More passengers will have to transfer between train lines when using the red and green lines. Those lines will start running their shorter runs at 7 p.m., earlier than before. Basic terms of the longer headways and train line changes are online at itsmarta.com.
* Call centers: Route information, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays. Customer services, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. No more checking Breeze card balances over the phone. You can still do it online or at a Breeze vending machine.
* Five Points information booth: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, no holidays
* Ride stores: Closed at Lenox and Lindbergh; open at the airport and Five Points stations.
* Restrooms: Closed to the public everywhere except nine stations: Bankhead, College Park, Doraville, Edgewood/Candler Park, Five Points, Hamilton E. Holmes, Indian Creek, Lindbergh and North Springs. To get access, you must ask a station agent. They open at 6 a.m. every day. Everywhere but Five Points, they close at 7 p.m. Five Points’ restroom closes at 10 p.m.
* Reduced Fare Office: Closed from noon to 2 p.m.; otherwise open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.
* Lost and Found at Five Points: Closed from noon to 2 p.m.; otherwise open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.